Virtual learning will no longer be provided to Plano ISD students in the 2021-22 academic year, the district announced in a June 8 email to families.
“As previously communicated during the application process, Plano ISD’s ability to offer a Virtual Academy was contingent upon legislation that would provide fully funded virtual learning,” the email said.
This change comes almost two months after the Plano ISD Board of Trustees expressed intent to offer full, in-person instruction while giving students an option to opt for a virtual class with a separate staff and curriculum. The district’s Chief Operating Officer Theresa Williams referred to this tentative plan as “an updated brick and mortar with a possible virtual option.”
Plans for a virtual academy were effectively stymied after the 87th Texas State Legislature failed to pass HB 1468, a bill that would have allowed schools to create virtual learning programs for students living within the district under certain conditions.
“Upon learning that HB 1468 did not pass, Plano ISD waited to hear if the Texas Education Agency would provide a waiver that would allow the district to offer a virtual option,” the email continued. “On June 3, 2021, the Texas Education Agency informed the district that a funding waiver for remote learning will not be an option. Regrettably, this means that Plano ISD will not be able to offer a Virtual Academy this fall.”
Neighboring school districts such as Frisco ISD have also announced that the failure of legislators to pass the bill impeded their ability to offer virtual learning in the 2021-22 school year. Allen ISD, meanwhile, announced plans to not offer virtual learning one month before Plano ISD officials received the June 3 email.